Stephen Lee Sutton

January 5, 1932 - January 9, 2024

Colonel Stephen Lee Sutton, United States Air Force (retired), passed away peacefully on January 9, 2024, at age 92 at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was born on January 5, 1932, in Hollywood, California, to Maurine and Stanley Sutton.

Steve received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from UCLA, where he played freshman basketball for coach John Wooden and later served as Associate Professor in the ROTC program. Upon graduation, he joined the United States Air Force. During the next 29 years, he navigated many challenging assignments. He was a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. He served as Operations Advisor to the Nicaraguan Air Force. He was Squadron Commander of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in Da Nang, Vietnam, where he flew the HH53C—nicknamed the “Jolly Green” helicopter. Later, he served as the Wing Commander of Misawa Air Base in northern Japan. During his military career, Steve was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal.

Transitioning to the private sector, Steve then spent 24 years as Director of Legislative Affairs for Northrup Grumman Corporation in Washington, DC. He was named “Lobbyist of the Year” by a Capitol Hill consulting group. He also served on the Board of the non-profit Green Door, which helped people with mental illness work and live independently.

Family played a pivotal role in his life, having shared 51 years of marriage with his beloved wife, Donna. He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Sutton. His surviving children are Lori Sutton of Washington, D.C.; Michael (Dr. Kyrsten) Sutton of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine; David Sutton (Jennifer O’Reilly) of Silver Spring, Maryland; and Kelli Sutton (Andrew) Block of Charlottesville, Virginia. His adored grandchildren are Mikaeli and Kearson Sutton, and Sage, Maya, Eden, and Ryan Block.

Throughout his life, Steve traveled widely—but always spent summers in East Sandwich (Cape Cod), Massachusetts, where he entertained family and friends, welcomed all four-legged creatures, and presided over the ordering of sushi. He had a passion for sports: playing, watching and betting. He labored tirelessly on his masterful garden, embodying Voltaire’s philosophy, in the novel Candide, that “we must cultivate our garden.”

Steve treated generals, janitors, congressmen and cabdrivers equally. He was responsible, modest, generous, and thoughtful with his hand-written “notes of appreciation.” Steve was respected by his family and friends and will be forever remembered and loved.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday May 31, 2024, 11AM at Corpus Christi Parish, 324 Quaker Meeting House Rd. East Sandwich, MA. Burial will follow at Massachusetts National Cemetery, Connery Ave. Bourne, MA at 12:45 pm with full military honors.

Donations can be made in his name to Barnstable Land Trust, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), or any charity of your choice.

Arrangements are by Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home, Sandwich, MA.